Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Critters!

One of our days here in Hawke’s Bay was filled with animal adventures! =) It all started at Haumoana Farm Park where you get to pet all kinds of fluffy critters and feed them corn. (Except for pigs and horses- they don’t get any corn. I'm not sure why not.) We pet sheep and pigs, guinea pigs and goats, and saw all sorts of other fuzzy things- an Australian opossum who was adorable (wayyy cuter than the nasty Virginia variety we get stateside, though the Aussie ones are destroying all of NZ’s natural beauty, apparently, and are mostly being made into high-priced knitwear these days), a mama pig (a Captain Cooker) with her flock of teensy baby piglets (not sure “flock” is the technical term), a friendly alpaca, a Heilan’ Coo named Haggis (I wore my heilan’ coo t-shirt, but he didn’t seem impressed), bunnies, curly-featheredy geese, and best of all TEENSY baby CHICKENS!!! Loved them!!! =) They tried to peck the corn out of Gordon’s hands, but their teensy beaks we just too little- cute little fluffballs! =) Almost too much cute to take in all at once… From there we went out to Cape Kidnappers to see the gannet colony. Gannets are sizeable birdies (in the booby family) who usually nest on remote islands, but for some reason have chosen to hang out on the mainland here. There are about 17,000 of them. You can walk out to the colony, but it takes a while and it was hot, so we had a ride on a trailer pulled by a tractor along the beach (and in the water and over big boulders and that sort of thing), which took an hour+ each way. It’s just the right time of year to see the chicks with their fluffy, white feathers before they get their real ones. At this point they are almost as big as their parents, though still relying on them for food! (Sounds familiar…) Soon the chicks will fly to Australia where they stay for about 3 years until they are adults and return to NZ. When they leave they have no experience flying, catching food, or navigating, and they have to go almost 3000km to Australia! Crazy! Smart birdies, I guess! It’s pretty amazing to see so many of them at once, and you can get up really close to them- they don’t seem to mind humans at all! I didn’t even know what a gannet was before we went, but I’d definitely recommend the tractor adventure to anyone! =) Now if I can just manage to see some penguins, pukekos, and kiwis while I'm here I think my New Zealand bird-watching aspirations will be fulfilled! =)

3 comments:

Barbara said...

That critter on the tractor is my favorite! :D

Sarah said...

Awww! You are nice! But I still think I like the baby chickens best. =) They're fluffier and would fit in my pocket. =)

S@R@ 28 said...

ohhh!!!! I love that baby chicken!!! :)